Tuesday, October 09, 2012

My Brother's Election Year

The baseball playoffs, where pressure is at its highest and media coverage puts teams under a microscope, have begun. Among the contenders is a team from Washington, D.C. called The Nationals. It's the same franchise once known as the Montreal Expos, a team so completely ignored by local fans (most of them hockey fanatics) that they simply stopped coming to games.
Getting the team in Washington wasn't easy, mostly because of strong opposition by the owner of the nearby Baltimore Orioles. But it finally happened, and the Nats fill the spot once taken by the Washington Senators, who are now the Minnesota Twins. The Nats have had a terrific season, as have the Orioles. This year marks the first time a D.C. team has advanced past the regular season in a long time. How long? Since the president's initials were FDR.

I've written before that this year has a challenge you usually just don't face. A co-religionist of mine isn't just running for president, but is the Republican nominee. I don't want the guy to do a public face plant, but the truth is that I back his opponent, President Obama. It's a bit like watching BYU play against Iowa, when I cannot fully back either team and am therefore doomed to some discomfort no matter what happens.
But to be completely truthful, it could be much worse. California is not a "swing" state, and so the level of campaign ads is modest. My fellow worshipers know me pretty well, and so as long as I don't say anything too hostile, they probably won't either. I get kidded, but not too viciously. Everyone seems to keep in mind that whoever the president is, we are stuck with one another. No sense in making enemies out of people who had been friends.     
But my brother doesn't have it as easy. He lives in Colorado, one of those "swing states" mentioned above. My brother is not as opinionated as I am, but he has also abandoned our father's moderate "business first" Republicanism to be a Democrat. He's quite aware that the GOP is far right of where it was in the 1970's and "80's when he grew up a few years after me.
And he's no slouch as a Latter-Day Saint, either. He put in a few years as a local Bishop, a volunteer assignment that would buckle the knees of most men.
Thus, through no fault of his own, he lives in a time and place that forces him to make tough choices. He can continue his lifelong attendance at meetings where, he says, the Mitt promoting is "open, blatant and disgusting" or find a new faith which welcomes liberals. He can try to point out that GOP daily barbs are often less than truthful, and probably catch a faceful of vitriol for his trouble, or he can wait for when it all blows over, whenever that will be, and with near perfect knowledge that no one will remember their bad behavior. He can remind people that official Church policy is supposed to prohibit partisan politics, and be sneered at in response. He can keep silent, hoping that the good people around him don't reveal themselves as bigoted know-nothings. He can understand that people often blur the line between opinion and conviction, or insist that he hasn't confused the two.
Matt's been a very capable guy over a long time. He was the family's best athlete, best business person and highest-serving in the church, as these things are measured. I honestly hope that there is plenty of forgiveness come November, because it would be a shame if, after all these years, he found it necessary to unexpectedly show up at the local Unitarian meeting place.     


Anonymous Matt said...

Lewt - you got me and Debbie laughing out loud on that one, and thanks for the kind words. Debbie also remarked at your high level of insightfulness based on limited knowledge of the political landscape here, but you nailed it. Bottom line is correct in that we all need to get along after all this nastiness.

6:04 PM  

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